After leaving Emma’s, I stopped in at Ivy’s Coffee Shop in the Mission District. I needed to get grounded and fast. I had been making little headway in Chief O’Halloran’s murder and needed to get my ass in gear. I slammed down three cups of black coffee, and small talked with Ivy, the owner, before hailing a taxi to get me to Louie’s Joint to pick-up my car. I needed to get ahold of Mike Garcia. I had no idea how Mike played into this mess, but I looked forward to finding out. Instead of going home, which was my initial plan, I drove to my office. I was a little annoyed when I entered the office because all the lights were still on.
“I must’ve been in a helluva hurry,” I thought to myself. I pulled the note with Mike Garcia’s number from the file cabinet and dialed his number. The phone rang at least ten times before someone finally picked up. “Hello, is this Mike Garcia?” I asked. “Who is this?” a gruff voice responded. “This is Sam Grit, I’m looking for a Mr. Mike Garcia,” I said. “Oh, for Christ sakes, Sam, this is Inspector Mark Macias. Mark Macias was an old pal of mine. We go way back, all the way from the police academy to our work together in the homicide division.
He was one of the few cops that stood by me when the Dept. gave me the boot. I think he paid a heavy price for that. He should’ve been a Captain by now, but they bypassed him for lesser qualified cops. I felt terrible about that. I tried to talk him out of going to bat for me, but he wouldn’t listen. “Hey, buddy, how the hell are you,” I asked.
“Ah, you know, Sam, just grinding it out till that last check,” he said as he chuckled softly. It sounded like he was cupping the receiver. “I’ve got a real winner for a partner,” whispered, Macias. I have to be careful about what I say or do. I think he’s a plant to tell you the truth.” “That fuckin’ sucks, Mark,” I said. Mark responded boisterously, “Fuck it…I only need five more, and then its ‘Adios motherfucker’!” “So, what do you need with Mike,” Macias asked. “I need to get some info from him,” I said. Macias blurted out, “Well, pal, you’re a little late I’m afraid, we found most of Mike’s head plastered against his bedroom wall,” “Shotgun?” I asked. “Yep! Not sure if it’s suicide or not- at least not yet,” he replied.
“Hey Mark, listen, I’m working a case, and I have reason to believe Garcia was connected somehow. Have the lab people gotten there yet?” I asked. “Is it about Chief O’Halloran?” asked Macias. I thought to myself, “Sonofabitch” who in the hell else knows about the Chief? “You realize the whole department knows, Sam,” said Macias. What the hell, did he just read my thoughts? That was weird. “We’ve been sworn to secrecy, but you know how it is, Sam. There’s no way the shit about the Chief won’t be leaked to the press. I bet it’s being inked right now on the Clarion’s presses,” Macias whispered. “Shit! I gotta go, Sam, I’m still working this mess,” Macias snapped out loud. Fuck! That’s what I get for fuckin’ off the last couple of days!
“Oh, before I go,” Macias continued. “You need to talk to Detective Nikki Santos. She was Garcia’s on-again, off-again girlfriend while they were beat partners for a while. I don’t know. Maybe she can help you.” I hung up the phone and leaned back in my chair while swinging it slowly around to face toward the window. Ordinarily, I would take in the amazing views of the bay, and it would usually calm me. But, not now.